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Bobsleigh coach rejects joint Korean Olympic team idea

All Headlines 18:04 January 24, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korean bobsleigh head coach Lee Yong on Wednesday rejected a recent proposal for a joint Korean team for test runs at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, saying the idea would only embarrass the sport.

Last Friday, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) said "a mixed 4-man bobsleigh team with athletes from North and South Korea could be among the sleds testing the conditions" ahead of the Olympic races scheduled for Feb. 24 and 25.

The IBSF also said its president Ivo Ferriani and vice president Darrin Steele, both former bobsleigh athletes and coaches, would prepare and coach the joint team themselves.

South Korean Olympic bobsleigh head coach Lee Yong poses for a photo after an interview on the sidelines of Team Korea launching ceremony in Seoul on Jan. 24, 2018. (Yonhap)

After the Team Korea launching ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday, Lee said the proposal shouldn't be taken seriously.

"A joint Korean team would draw a lot of attention, but it'd be an embarrassing event that would make our sport a laughingstock," Lee said. "Even a team that has been together for three, four years can get into accidents. It makes no sense to have a new team to train for a couple of weeks."

Ferriani was quoted as saying: "The athletes must trust each other and cooperate perfectly in the narrowest of spaces. A mixed bobsleigh team would bring the athletes of both countries really close together."

But both Lee and the Korea Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation said they were taken aback by the IBSF's announcement because they hadn't been approached by the international governing body beforehand.

Lee said his athletes are focused on their task at hand. The two-man team of Won Yun-jong and Seo Young-woo, former world No. 1, could contend for a medal, while a four-man team, comprised of Won, Seo, Kim Dong-hyun and Jun Jung-lin, could also surprise people, according to their coach.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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